We are such stuff as dreams are made on…
by Michael Feeley
I’LL TELL YOU A STORY FIRST and then we’ll get to your DREAM JOB.
- The first musical I ever saw was at my local high school – The Boy Friend. I was 11 years old and after that, all I wanted to do was be in musicals.
There was incredible joy and abandon on that stage. Magic! So many emotions, and feelings as people danced and sang. They had such a good time and the audience was incredibly happy. Loving the musical.
That was it. Entertaining. Making people happy. That’s why I wanted to do it. Yes, the applause was certainly great and gratifying but there was something bigger – helping people like the world through a song or dialogue or a dance for a couple of hour or more. What could be better than that?
I went after this dream with a fury. Acting in every school and community play I could. Study singing and then off to college majoring in acting and music. It was my gargantuan passion (or whatever is bigger than that) colossal and gigantic dream to live in New York City and sing in musicals.
Right after college I did summer stock on Cape Cod and then moved to New York City. It was September 1975. I sublet an apartment from my acting coach in Greenwich Village on 12th Street and 7th Avenue, found a job in a Barnes & Noble Book Store on Fifth Avenue and started auditioning.
Every week I’d buy and read all the trade papers, where casting calls are published for union and non-union actors and I’d go to all of them that I was right for. I just had to be seen and heard.
I wasn’t in the Actor’s Equity union yet. And it’s not and easy thing to do. You can’t buy your way in. You have to crash an equity call, wait and wait to maybe be seen and heard and even if you get lucky and get into an audition the director has to cast an Equity Actor first to fill the part and in New York City there are plenty of qualified union actors, with tons of experience, great agents and connections.
But I didn’t care. I had to start somewhere to get where I wanted to go. I went to all the union calls. Standing at stage doors, making friends with the stage managers and casting monitors. Sometimes waiting hours just to sing a few bars of a song and act for directors like Hal Prince and Philip Rose, hoping to land a job. I had something to give and I had my dream and that’s all I needed.
One day there was a musical audition for the national tour of Shenandoah.
There’s a solo, sung by the character the Corporal. It’s called – “The Only Home I Know.” It’s a show piece.
A diamond and I knew I could sing hell out of it.
I phoned up my agent and asked to be submitted because I knew if they heard me sing I’d get the job. He said it would be a waste of time. I wasn’t in the union and I’d never be seen. My friends weren’t very encouraging either. They wanted me to be realistic. To keep trying but they didn’t really think I stood a chance. I didn’t see it this way at all! Yes, there was lots of competition but I wasn’t afraid because I had great confidence in my abilities and my dream.
I went to the audition early in the morning around 8:30 am. It was on 8th Avenue and 55th Street and I climbed up the four flights of old rehearsal hall stairs. All leaning a bit to the left. 30 or 40 steps. Painted shiny black with lots of scuffs and creaks. The place was packed. Buzzing with talk and laughter.
I went over to the equity monitor and said I wanted to audition for the Corporal’s role. He said they had to see union actors first but I could wait. And that’s what I did… all day.
At about 4:30 pm the director came out and announced — ‘The auditions are over. The musical is cast. Thank you all for coming.’
I had nothing to lose and stood up, “Please. Give me a chance. When you hear me sing you’ll give me the part.” The room went still. Everyone was staring at me and the director said, “Alright… come on in and sing then.”
I didn’t sing the song from the show – “The Only Home I Know” – because I didn’t know it well enough to sing and besides, he needed to hear something new and different. He’d been hearing that same song all day long. I did sing – “Danny Boy” – because I love the song and it was very much like the feeling and purpose present in the shows’ song. Same lyric tenor quality, with soaring high notes and the emotional theme of war and loss and love and going home, woven throughout it.
After I finished, the director studied me for a long time. Looking at my resume and headshot. Then he carefully, quietly talked to the musical conductor and pianist, back and forth, then he turned to me, smiled and said, — “The part is yours.” I couldn’t believe it. It happened. “You mean you’re going to give me my Equity Card and I get to work in a Broadway touring company?”… “That’s right. People will love hearing you sing. Thank you for standing up and asking to sing.”
I thought I would burst with joy! I got my wish! Everything I wanted and dreamed of and worked at for years, suddenly came true. Someone believed in me. Took a chance on an unknown, non-equity actor/singer. He heard my song, felt my passion, my need, my dream and answered my call.
I had a detailed plan and a goal to succeed in New York City. It included training, some talent, a ton of confidence and passion, guts and not letting anyone or anything derail me from my dream.
The rest is history, just like my agent. I continued to dream further and to achieve what I loved doing most. I’m still doing it today.
What did I learn?
1. Don’t give up on your dream! See it happening. Be ready. Be daring. Make the opportunities happen.
2. You can live your dreams if you believe in yourself and your skills.
3. Trust your instincts and gut intuition.
4. Make a solid plan and believe that the world will come through for you.
All of my experience and training in the theatre fit right in with recruiting and finding people work. The same is true for me now as a Life and Career Coach.
The candidates who really set me ablaze, were the people who wanted to shift careers from one industry to another and even though they may not have had ‘the background’ to move out of say finance into a creative field like advertising or publishing, they had the commitment and burning desire.
That’s it! They wanted nothing else and were willing to do anything to get there — learn new skills, go back to school, take a pay cut, apprentice… whatever it took so they could say… ”Just get me the interview because when they meet me they’ll give me the job. I know I can do it.”
Many people looking for work don’t know what they want to do. They’ve been through college, majored in something they like but are not committed to say political science, fine arts or teaching. They’re looking for something special that expresses them truly.
Here’s what one client movingly expressed in an assignment about what he wished for:
“At the moment, I wake up in the morning and have a physical destination to go to
but it is nothing more than that. I would like to use my day in a more substantive way,
where my energies could be applied to a larger goal, or vision with motive and passion.”
People like that open the fire hydrant for me! I’m ready to pour it on and go in every direction possible, thinking up and making available any opportunity to have them discover themselves and their gifts so they can be fully expressed and happy.
What are you willing to do to get what you want?
The answers are in you and Life Coaching is immensely useful.
– You must want to do the work — the ‘heavy lifting’.
– You’ll run into fears and doubts and your ‘Heckler’, your inner voice, will say…” You’re not qualified. You can’t do it!”. He’ll be a tidal wave of negativity, beating you down and washing you away. BUT — tell him to, ‘jump off a bridge’.
– You’ll learn how to face your fears and break through them.
– You’ll move on into expressing your true self…following your heart’s desire and yearning.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I know it with my life and I’ve seen it happen to many other people.
Coaching works! It’s one amazing, logical and magical experience. Why not find out?
Take the ‘’Grand Tour” of yourself and find the job or career or calling that you were made for.
Don’t just endure your life. Define it now. Live and love it NOW.
William Shakespeare agrees – “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”
Thanks – Michael